Nelson's Jolly Christmas Gift Surprise

By John Denton
December 20, 2012

ORLANDO -- Seconds after tearing off the shiny green wrapping and discovering a new Leapster game that was all hers, six-year-old Antonia Postell raised up and said to no one in particular, ``This is the best Christmas ever!’’ A few feet away, Antonia’s parents, Antonio and Tiffany Postell, and Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson took in the scene and were reduced to mush after seeing the joy in the child’s eyes on a day when Christmas came early.

The Postells were one of two families treated to dozens of gifts and some much-needed Christmas cheer by Nelson and the Magic for ``Jameer’s Jolly Christmas Surprise.’’ As his way of giving back to those in need, Nelson went on a shopping spree last week and then presented toys, games and bicycles to the Postells and their four children and also Tonesha Goodley and her five children on Tuesday.

Nelson said after the nation spent the past few days mourning the mass murder of 20 school children in Newtown, Conn., it was good to see kids laughing, smiling and celebrating once again.

``With what went on with those kids in Connecticut, those kids didn’t ask for that. Kids should be treated a certain way, and this is the way with love,’’ said Nelson, who was wearing a blue Santa hat as he watched the children opening the gifts.

``Especially kids who are in need because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have much for Christmas. I’m one of the people now who is very fortunate and I just want to send my blessings to these families. I just want to make it as special as possible for them.’’

Times have been tough the past five months for the Postells after Antonio was laid off from his Orlando-area construction job just before the family had its fourth child. Tiffany has gone back to work in a part-time role, while her husband has continued to look for work. She said that Nelson’s generosity ensures that her family will have a happy holiday.

``This is awesome for us at this time of year because it was unfortunate that we were going to have a tough time getting the kids everything that they need and want,’’ said Tiffany Postell, whose kids Bendarrius Dozier (17), Tianna Postell (8), Antonia (6) and Antonio Jr. (5 ½ months) attended the event. ``To have this day, this is amazing and we’re so blessed. … It makes me feel like there’s still hope in this holiday season for our kids.’’

As she watched her five children – Malachi (12), Destiny (12), Isaiah (9), Kamia (7) and Faith (4) – open presents, Orlando’s Tonesha Goodley couldn’t help but think how much her late husband, Kellop Goodley would have enjoyed seeing the smiles of the kids’ faces. Kellop died of Leukemia two years ago and the family has since fallen on hard times. But she said that the generosity of Nelson and the Magic have helped to brighten her family’s holiday season.

``It’s a blessing to us because it’s been rough for us,’’ Tonesha said.

Nelson, the longest-tenured Magic player in his ninth season in Orlando, said he made a commitment to himself long ago that if he was ever in a position where he could help others he would. Nelson grew up in an impoverished area of Chester, Pa., outside of Philadelphia, and didn’t get everything he wanted for Christmas. But those times taught him that there are plenty of people in need and that he can help out by sharing his good fortune.

``I’m not going to say that I was the poorest guy on the block, but I also wanted things as a kid and didn’t get them,’’ Nelson remembered. ``So I always told myself that I was going to work hard and do what I needed to do to be successful. I’m very fortunate to be successful and be in this position to give back now. I’m going to continue to give back because this is the way that I was raised.’’